U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey visits Wesley Enhanced Living for 125th anniversary

Marie Hertrich looks through old albums.

Wesley Enhanced Living, a nonprofit, faith-based organization that owns and manages multiple continuing care retirement communities in southeastern Pennsylvania, last week celebrated 125 years of serving residents.

Among those who attended the Dec. 5 celebration was U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey.

The event took place at WEL’s Pennypack site at 8401 Roosevelt Blvd.

In 1888, the German Home for the Aged was formed by the Evangelical Association of Churches. Today, the organization now known as Wesley Enhanced Living provides independent living, personal care, rehabilitation, skilled nursing and dementia care at its many continuing care retirement communities.

The organization has also succeeded in rescuing independent continuing care retirement communities and making them financially viable.

To date, WEL has invested more than $80 million in renovations and upgrades to its communities. Once the multi-million-dollar renovation at Wesley Enhanced Living at Stapeley in Germantown is complete in early 2014, all WEL communities will have undergone both operational and community transformations.

The company has instituted WEL SHIFT, a senior healthcare and housing service delivery model, intended to be more responsive to seniors’ needs, more accessible to the growing aging population and a more efficient use of taxpayer resources.

With the introduction of U.S. Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick’s Medicare Residential Care Coordination Act of 2013, up to five states could apply to participate in a demonstration project that would create new senior communities featuring lifetime health and housing benefits within the existing Medicare and Medicaid programs.

WEL’s CEO and president, Jeff Petty, said, “The power of H.R. 2376 is the elimination of the substantial duplication, overlap and inefficiency in the service offerings of the combined programs. For example, we estimate that WEL SHIFT projects savings of more than 25 percent in Medicare and 20 percent in Medicaid for the participants of the demonstration project, without assuming any of the improvements in outcomes or behavior modifications, which would be nearly inevitable from the paradigm change in the service delivery model encompassed in H.R. 2376.”

Wesley Enhanced Living serves about 1,200 residents with more than 900 employees throughout Pennsylvania. WEL communities are located in Doylestown, Upper Moreland, Pennypack Park, Burholme, Germantown and Brodheadsville, Monroe County.

The communities provide various combinations of independent living, personal care services, dementia care, rehabilitation and skilled nursing services. ••

A choir at Wesley Enhanced Living Pennypack Park uses bells to make songs during the retirement community’s anniversary.

U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey visits Wesley Enhanced Living for its 125th anniversary. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS